Last updated on January 2nd, 2020 at 09:56 pm
You have probably inherited a box full of old 8mm film or come across the film rolls that your parents or grandparents stored somewhere in the attic. 8mm films were trendy during the second half of the 20th century as they were considered to be a great way to preserve memories for generations to come. For the longest time, 8mm film format had ascendancy over, half of the last century. It was the go-to thought format and resolution for amateurs, homemade movies, and indie filmmakers alike. However, as technology evolved the 8mm film was quickly forgotten in the sands of time leaving behind an unlimited quantity of film rolls rendered unwatchable and useless as people did not know what to do with unless they were digitized.
Digital converters are one of the best investments you can make for your family history and archiving. Memories passed on through generations are precious, and something that most would not like to lose. Because of the fragility of the 8mm analog medium, we often we find ourselves requiring to change 8mm film to digital formats which can be indefinitely stored, edited, and viewed as you or future generations relive the memories over and over. But how does one go about converting the 8mm film from analog to digital? Accomplishing the task of converting 8mm film is daunting, especially if it is something you wish to do yourself. It’s recommended that you have it professionally done by taking your films to a production or video editing service. However, it is not impossible to do so, particularly if you have a large collection of 8mm footage and cassettes doing it yourself is a cost-effective alternative.
What You Need To convert 8mm Film
When converting the 8mm films, there are different methods through which you can achieve the conversion. These methods are; the white card method where images are projected onto the white card by the projector, the film transfer box method, where an angled mirror inside a box is where the images are projected and finally film scanning using fully automated devices to digitize the reels. The automated devices/ equipment is usually the most straightforward way to execute a seamless transfer from 8mm film to digital. There are many options of automated devices available in the market, and below we look at some of the ones that you could opt for.
Wolverine 8mm and Super 8 Film Reel Converter Scanner
If you are on a budget, the Wolverine digitizer is one of the best devices you can opt for as it can create high definition footage with a maximum resolution of 960 X 720 dpi at 30 frames per second. It is equipped with a 3.53MP 1/3″ CMOS sensor that converts photons to electrons, and it is adaptable for either 3 inch or 5-inch reels. The Wolverine digitizer provides users with the ideal exposure control as you can opt to set the controls manually or automatically. Once the processing has begun, your footage is stored onto a memory card (32 GB) where it is saved until you are ready to view it or transfer it. The digitizer comes with a USB 2.0 port for connecting it to computer as well as a TV-Out port and cable to display your videos on your television.
- The video quality is pretty impressive.
- The digitizer switches itself off automatically should it detect a reel jam. This is great as it prevents your precious reels from getting damaged.
- It is extremely affordable.
- Users have to continually adjust the color saturation on the device as the yellow hues in the Wolverine are very pronounced.
- The video conversion can occasionally get jumpy as the film spools quickly when the film supply reel spins forward.
- If the 8mm films have several splices, users must continuously monitor the Wolverine to prevent the splices from getting caught up. This can be hugely inconveniencing.
Wolverine F2D Mighty 7-in-1Digital Converter
Capable of working with multiple types of film including 8mm film, like most digitizers, you can view your converted videos on the F2D as it comes equipped with a 2.4? Color screen from which you can view your digitized footage. The digitizer facilitates the conversion of your 8mm film to 20 megapixels digital images/footage. Just like the previously reviewed Wolverine, your footage is stored onto an SD card or the devices internal memory until you are ready to view or edit. It is also possible to adjust the exposure and color balance automatically or manually depending on your preference.
- The F2D is equipped with slide inserts that facilitate the conversion making it easy to complete the job quicker.
- The F2D is very easy to use and ideal for novices who have no previous experience with films/reels.
- It’s compatible with both operating systems (Mac and Windows)
- Users can scan still Super 8 movie film frames and with proper editing and re-assembling turn them into a motion picture.
- The converted output quality is not the best. Some users have complained that they experienced inconsistent color quality, and their digital footage appeared grainy on some occasions.
KODAK SCANZA Digital Film & Slide Scanner
Some of the key features of the Kodak Scanza include a tilting 3.5″ LCD, SD card slot alongside video out, HDMI and USB connectivity. With a recommended resolution of 4320 x 2880 dpi that can be extrapolated to a maximum resolution of 5728 x 3824, we appreciated the Kodak Scanza and how easy it was to use it. With a single press operation process, this is arguably one of the easiest digitizers you can opt for. Users can adjust the brightness, exposure, and color quality by performing adjustments on the red, green, and blue level. While the scan quality on this device is not the worst, it could use some improvement. We also did not appreciate the fact that footage in other formats such as TIFFs or DNG could not be realized on the Kodak Scanza.
- The performance of the Scanza is one of the best as it converts your films into digital images extremely fast.
- You can edit the footage on the device
- The converted footage is not as sharp as we have seen with other devices. However, it is possible to correct this with some editing.
- You can only convert your footage to Jpeg format.
- The Kodak Scanza sometimes crops images and users do not have an option for scanning medium format.
Wolverine Titan 8-in-1 High-Resolution Film to Digital Converter
With a screen larger than most digitizers, the Wolverine Titan is another excellent 8mm film converter that supports the conversion of 8 different film types including the 8mm film besides 35mm, 110, 127, 126 and APS format films. It delivers high resolution (5472 x 3648 pixels) conversions in just 3 seconds which is one of the fastest we have experience. The Titan uses speed-load adapters which to ensure smooth and fast scanning after which it saves the footage in JPEG format to either an optional SD/SDHC memory card or the devices internal memory. The Wolverine titan digitizer is also equipped with an HDMI TV output and mini-USB slot. The conversion happens thanks to the LED backlight single operation quickly.
- Digitizing films in just 3 seconds, the Titan It is extremely fast in comparison to its competitors.
- Its 4.3″ color LCD screen is one of the larger ones in the market and makes it convenient and easy to view and edit footage on the device.
- Very straightforward to use
- The color balance on the Titan is rather wanting as it gets distorted with darker footage and is much better for well-lit footage.
Eastman Kodak company were the first to release it in 1932, 8mm films will forever hold a place in history especially for the silent generation, generation x and baby boomers as it defined not only the film industry then but also a big part of their lives. Because of this and the evolution of photography/film equipment, the only way to pass on memories is by converting the 8mm to digital formats, thus the need for 8mm film to digital conversion equipment. Because of evolution, markets are saturated with products, and choosing just one can be confusing. Our list of equipment above is a great starting point for your search to a great device that can help you achieve this fete. The only downside of most of the digital converters is that you will not get sound in your footage. But I would rather get half a pie than no pie at all. When choosing a converter, some of the things that you should consider include;
The converters speed; if you have a lot of footage that requires conversion, you do not want to spend extended periods waiting for the conversion to be finished.
The resolution; the point of converting your 8mm film is for continuity. It is therefore crucial that you select a digital converter that will deliver excellent output.